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Rise: Our World on a Wednesday

Your weekly M&A information bank, providing you with all the latest movements, market landscape and breaking news within the sector.

The Rise of the Metaverse:

We’ve all watched the Sci-Fi movies showcasing futuristic versions of our world being completely digitised, as virtual reality becomes the new tangible form of life. The analogy ‘life is a movie’ is becoming less and less far fetched by the day. COVID-19 has contributed to the rapid replacement of physical interactions with digitised virtual interactions, albeit this was an inevitable evolution of human communication. It’s not difficult to see the metaverse playing a significant role in the foreseeable future, but the question arises as to what extent this virtual reality will be adopted.

The metaverse has coined various descriptions since its recent boom, some better than others: ‘future of the internet’; ‘a video game’; ‘zoom’s ugly cousin’, all of which aren’t entirely wrong. However, the metaverse can best be described as a virtual world. The technology in this virtual world can relate to digital economies, virtual reality simulations, augmented reality simulations, amongst a multitude of other technology platforms.

The rise of this virtual world can be a means of escape for individuals, starting a new virtual life without compromising their physical being. However, individuals aren’t the only ones adopting this new ‘reality’. Businesses are starting to see the future benefit of being involved

in the metaverse, as their consumers will now be interacting with products and services in both virtuality and reality.

McDonald’s have recently filed trademark actions indicating that it plans to offer "a virtual restaurant featuring actual and virtual goods" and "operating a virtual restaurant featuring home delivery”. This would mean that if you’re hungry in the metaverse, you could walk to a virtual McDonalds, place your order and it would be delivered to your physical door.

Disney have also recently had a patent approved for a “virtual world simulator”, signalling a metaverse move for its theme parks. Users will be able to have an augmented reality experience, moving around theme parks, going on rides and interacting with other users.

Microsoft has recently acquired Activision Blizzard for $70 billion, which is their biggest acquisition ever and will allow the company to develop Microsoft-backed games and software within the metaverse in the coming years.

Adidas have launched an NFT collection, focusing on virtual clothing, whereby people will be able to dress and customise their characters’s style. Buyers will have exclusive access to Adidas Originals experiences and products, which means you’re not only buying into a virtual product, but also gain access to a wide range of benefits by owning this asset, which can be experienced in both the physical and virtual realms.

MTN have recently purchased 144 plots of land through Africa’s first VR metaverse platform, Africarare. Its metaverse, Ubuntuland, aims to showcase African art, fashion, entertainment, sport, technology and creativity by providing a platform for artists to reveal their works. MTN believes this recent purchase is relevant to their ambition strategy, focusing on leveraging trends which amplify their consumers’ digital experiences and engagement.

Artists such as Jay-Z, Snoop Dogg and Justin Bieber have purchased NFT-backed virtual spaces, using these for virtual performances and launching digital brands.

Virtual characters in the metaverse will eventually be able to share the same experiences and services as our physical beings. However, is virtual reality really the best solution for real human connection and development? No matter what the answer to that question is, businesses can’t afford to be left behind, if this is truly what our future will eventually be.

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